The district attorneys for Los Angeles and San Joaquin counties have teamed up with Code for America to help them clear around 54,000 marijuana convictions. The nonprofit's algorithm will aid prosecutors by automatically evaluating whether a case is eligible for dismissal or resentencing.
The two counties have been working with Code for America since July to examine marijuana conviction data, as automating the process should help them clear cases much more quickly than through entirely manual processes. There are an estimated 50,000 eligible cases in Los Angeles County and 4,000 in San Joaquin County. Code for America's Clear My Record system also helped San Francisco clear more than 8,000 marijuana convictions.
"As technology advances and the criminal justice system evolves, we as prosecutors must do our part to pursue innovative justice procedures on behalf of our constituents," Los Angeles County DA Jackie Lacey said. "This collaboration will improve people's lives by erasing the mistakes of their past and hopefully lead them on a path to a better future. Helping to clear that path by reducing or dismissing cannabis convictions can result in someone securing a job or benefitting from other programs that may have been unavailable to them in the past."
California voted to legalize recreational pot use in 2016. Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1793 into law, which gave district attorneys until July 1st, 2020 to review convictions eligible for downgrading or expungement and act accordingly.